Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing) moves into yellow as Aqua Blue Sport rider takes his first pro win

Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport) took a heroic victory on stage four of the Tour de Suisse as he held off the general classification contenders to win on the first summit finish of the race having spent the day in the break.

Warbasse was the last surviving rider from a four-man break, having gone solo early on the final climb to the finish at Villars-sur-Ollon.

Despite attacks behind from the likes of Matthias Frank (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Simon Spilak (Katusha-Alpecin), Warbasse was able to cross the line with a comfortable margin of victory, with second-placed Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing) moving into yellow.

How it happened

A fast start to the day made it difficult for a break to be established, with it taking a number of kilometres for Lars Boom (LottoNL-Jumbo), Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport), Antoine Duschesne (Direct Energie) and Nick van der Lijke (Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij) to move clear.

They established a maximum advantage of more than eight minutes which slowly came down as the peloton approached the final two classified climbs of the stage.

The first category Col de Mosses was crested with 27.2 km remaining on the 143.2km stage, and saw the first action from the break as Warbasse attacked, dropping Boom in the process.

That meant a trio of riders who started to final climb, the hors-categorie ascent to the finish at Villars-sur-Ollon, with a 4-30 advantage over the bunch.

The  break didn’t stay together long as Warbasse raised the pace to go solo, but struggled to maintain his lead over the bunch as FDJ led the peloton and reduced the gap to the front of the race to 2-30 with 7.4km to go.

That pace was enough to drop the yellow jersey of Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) as the bunch was reduced to around 20 riders as the climb began to bite.

The first attacks came with five kilometres to go as Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r La Mondiale) was the first to be able to go clear from a chasing group of Steven Kruiswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo), Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing), Marc Soler (Movistar), Simon Spilak (Katusha-Alpecin), and Matthias Frank (Ag2r La Mondiale).

Pozzovivo’s attack further reduced Warbasse’s lead, which was down to little more than a minute with three kilometres remaining.

Spilak set the pace among the chasers to catch Pozzovivo, before launching a couple of attacks himself, neither of which were successful.

However a better move came from Frank, who had previously looked to be suffering at the back of the group, going clear with two kilometres to go.

Frank was able to open a few seconds lead over the elite group, but Warbasse was still up the road with a 50 second lead.

The American’s victory looked to be in the bag even as Frank had him in his sights on some of the longer straights in the last couple of kilometres.

In the break for the whole day, Warbasse looked exhausted as he approached the line, raising his arms in victory as Spilak led the chasers home while Frank was caught in the final few hundred metres.

Results

Tour de Suisse 2017, stage four: Bern to Villars-sur-Ollon (150.2km)

1. Larry Warbasse (USA) Aqua Blue Sport, in 3-48-55
2. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing, at 40 secs
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo, at same time
4. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin, at same time
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale, at 44 secs
6. Mathias Frank (Sui) Ag2r La Mondiale, at 47 secs
7. Marc Soler (Esp) Movistar, at 59 secs
8. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana, at 1-07
9. Mikel Nieve (Esp) Team Sky, at 1-20
10. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates, at 1-34

General classification after stage four

1, Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team, in 12-08-35
2. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo, at 15 secs
3. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale, at 24 secs
4. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin, at same time
5. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar, at 31 secs